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To Pen Name or Not to Pen Name . . .

I got into this great conversation with one of my neighbors last night about pseudonyms and the internet. It cracks me up, I have lived everywhere from a tiny bush village at the mouth of the Yukon River to the booming metropolis of Los Angeles. Yet it is here in Los Angeles that I have the most interaction with my neighbors. I stumbled upon this great little apartment complex that has a central courtyard, where neighbors actually hang out and chat with one another. We know each other by name and say good morning. We know whose kids belong to who and the day that Zoey ninja-ed her way out the door and made a freedom run across the courtyard, someone grabbed her without a second thought and brought her back. It’s a community and it’s great. Any who, I went over to my neighbor’s to buy a clutch purse – they’re awesome, you can get them here! – and we wound up chatting for almost two hours.

Pen Name

One of the topics that we delved into was having an internet presence. She does everything under a brand name and I do everything under my real name. Which to be completely honest, can be a little odd. If I do a google search of my name it isn’t until the third or fourth page that links start showing up that aren’t related to me in some way. Between my weekly theater reviews (and the quotes that get pulled out of those), my monthly Heroine of History articles, my blog posts, poetry, social media presence, videos and published book I am all over the internet. Don’t get me wrong, that is exactly what I was going for, but on say, a first date it’s a little awkward. I went out on a date where, judging by how much he knew about me, the guy had probably spent hours looking through my online presence. I hadn’t googled him at all, because I prefer to learn about someone from them if I have the opportunity. Therefore, he showed up with a, “I already know a ton about you so this feels like a third or fourth date,” while I showed up with a, “You seem like a cool guy, this will be a fun first date,” attitude. Needless to say, it didn’t turn out well. I don’t know about anyone else, but I prefer to save in-depth talk about my dead mother until well into the relationship. Awkward!

Mask Girl

Yet at the same time, I obviously have no qualms with writing a blog about the subject and if someone comments on that blog I don’t find it odd in the least. There is something so surreal about the internet. It is at once anonymous and personal. You can share parts of yourself openly and get feedback and reassurance that you’re not alone. There are people out there that understand and have gone through similar. Sometimes it’s the person behind the user id providing me comfort and sometimes it’s the other way around. In a sense it’s no less of a community than what exists at my apartment complex, it just exists in the ether and can be carried around with me wherever I go. I guess choosing to use my real name instead of a pen name blurs the boundaries and gives me an identifiable anonymity . . .

. . . that just made my brain hurt . . . I need more coffee . . .

  • :Donna Marie

    Oooooh, the internet. It IS an odd phenomenon. It can be incredibly intimate and/or distant in the same breath.